These deal with the casuists of the Counter - Reformation in the spirit of Milton, laying especial stress on the artificiality of their methods and the laxity of their results.
The steps along which plant and animal domestication passed upwards in artificiality are graphically illustrated in the aboriginal food quest.
They are more or less touched by artificiality, but so far as we are able to appreciate them at present they very seldom attain to any degree of literary beauty.
If the work begun by Allan Ramsay, continued by Fergusson and completed by Burns, were matter for separate treatment, it would be necessary to show not only that the editorial zeal which turned these writers to the forgotten vernacular and to " popular " themes was inspired by the general conditions of reaction against the artificiality of the century; but that it was because these poets were Scots, and in Scotland, that they chose this line of return to nature and naturalness, and did honour, partly by protest, to the slighted efforts of the " vulgar " muse.
It is, of course, easy to set aside these questions as unanswerable, and to find artificiality in the arrangement.